According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Americans consumed approximately 2.3 billion gallons or approximately 4.5 billion bottles of alcohol in 2018. Therefore, it is estimated that approximately 12.3 million bottles of alcohol are consumed in the US daily. While the statistics may be staggering, it’s essential to note that only 7.2% of the population suffers from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). The rest appear to be casual drinkers.
While some research indicates some positive effects of moderate alcohol consumption, the addictive properties of alcohol far outweigh any positive impact. However, because alcoholic drinks are deeply entrenched in our culture, eradicating them is nearly impossible. Therefore, the distinction between drinking and drug addiction is critical, as the consequences of overindulging can be severe.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to numerous adverse health outcomes. Still, drug addiction is an illness that can affect people differently. Most people that partake in alcohol do not develop alcoholism and do not need to check themselves into addiction treatment centers in America. It is essential to understand this difference, as it helps to illustrate that drug addiction is an actual illness, as opposed to just excessive drinking.
The Difference Between Casual Drinkers and Alcoholics
Consuming alcohol can range from casual, occasional drinking to chronic alcoholism. While alcohol is addictive, it is not as addictive as certain drugs, like certain stimulants, opioids, and methamphetamines. That being said, alcoholism can be deadly, and the misuse of alcohol, even without addiction, can result in serious health issues and even death.
The line that separates casual drinkers and alcoholics is control. Casual drinkers can stop drinking when the situation demands it or when they reach a certain level of intoxication. In contrast, people diagnosed with AUD often drink past the point of no return and find it very difficult to stop, even when it is causing them harm.
AUD is a condition that occurs when a person consumes large amounts of alcohol over a long period. This causes the brain to become accustomed to having alcohol. When it is taken away, the individual can experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms. As the person continues to drink, the brain changes in response to the alcohol, and this can lead to further cravings and difficulty in controlling their drinking.
Alcoholism can affect anyone, no matter who they are. It is a severe illness that can cause significant physical, mental, and emotional changes in those it affects. People who are struggling with alcoholism may make irrational decisions while drinking or while trying to get another drink. This can lead to severe consequences that can significantly impact their lives.
Can alcoholism be treated?
Finding sobriety and leading a better life can be a reality for those struggling with alcohol addiction. American addiction centers offer a safe and supportive environment focused on helping those with addiction learn to manage and find joy in a life without substances. Addiction treatment is multifaceted and adaptive, allowing individuals to find a path to sobriety that works for them. Even though it is a difficult journey, it is possible to overcome alcohol addiction with the right amount of dedication, care, and understanding.
Your alcoholism does not define you. Alcohol treatment centers in Orange County are ready to help you with every step in your recovery process. Contact us today to get started.